Devon bee keepers Instrumented Hive Project - the IHP

The IHP aims to study honeybees through a fresh look at aspects of their social organisation and some
common methods of management, and through the application of appropriate, modern measurement
technologies. The IHP may thus be regarded as a small, enthusiastic amateur group with interests
significantly beyond conventional craft beekeeping.

Some of the study areas in which the IHP is currently involved, or planning to be, include:

sounds and comb vibrations, particularly as pre-swarm indicators

detailed comb structure in feral or near-feral situations

control of the varroa destructor parasitic mite by more bee-friendly, biotechnical rather than bio-chemical approaches

potential for application of radio frequency or bar-code sub-miniature device tagging of individual bees

novel hive designs to aid these studies and for more general potential application

temp. and other parameter monitoring, including unattended remote data collection


The IHP maintains colonies and facilities in special apiaries in N Devon and Tyne & Wear. Some of the colonies are housed in bee houses, with our flagship cabin (BeeLab One) capable of housing dozens of special hives together with recording and analysis equipment. We have growing links with researchers in the areas of eusocial insects, entomology and evolutionary biology, and have two key advisors viz.

            Dr Peter McGregor, Cornwall College (previously Copenhagen U) senior scientific advisor

            Dr Seirian Sumner, Institute of Zoology, London entomology advisor

We are building up a good base capability in the measurement areas listed above, including professional grade portable audio recorders, RFID tag programming and reading equipment, multi-channel, professional data acquisition suite and powerful control and analysis software (Nat. Instruments) etc.  Our BeeLab One has electrical supply, lighting and broadband IP connectivity, data storage etc..

The IHP welcomes the opportunity to co-operate with academic partners, where it is hoped we might be able to contribute some useful input and capability as a junior partner.